How To Come Up With A Great Domain Name in 2021 (17 Practical Tips)

Lightbulb next to a blog title

Now that you know why a domain name is important…how exactly do you go about creating one?

It’s not nearly as complicated as it sounds.

In fact, if you follow the tips in this guide you’ll be surprised at how many cool and unique ideas you come up with.

Domains you won’t believe are available to register today.

But you’ll do this while also avoiding the pitfalls that cause long-term headaches for newbies.

Let’s get to it.Types of domains

Types of Domain Names

We need to deal with some Internet terminology before we demonstrate how to come up with a great domain name for your blog.

There are several different types of domain names.

TLD 

This stands for Top Level Domain and refers to the many different domain extensions you can choose from.

The most commonly used TLD is .com, .net and .org, but you can also choose from TLDs such as:

  • .io
  • .co
  • .info
  • .biz

But there are dozens of others you can choose from when registering a domain name.

CCTLD

A Country Code Top Level Domain Name is best suited to a person who wants to start a blog that serves a specific part of the world.

Each country has its own TLD, so there are 255 in total.

But you don’t have to choose a domain name extension based on the country you live in.

So while a US citizen can choose a .US ccTLD for their domain name, they can also use a .com, .net, or .org instead.

The same applies to somebody living in Tuvalu in that they can use the .TV domain extension for their website but they’re also free to use a .com if they prefer.

There are no search engine penalties for doing this.

gTLD

This is also a more recent category of domain name to consider – the Generic Top Level Domain, but it’s not nearly as confusing as it sounds.

Anyone who has used the Internet is accustomed to seeing .com, .net, .org, .info and other such domain extensions.

But a whole new set of extensions have come online in the last few years:

  • .pizza
  • .club
  • .online
  • .health
  • .website
  • .academy
  • .college
  • Etc., etc.

There are hundreds of different gTLD extensions to choose from when registering a domain but most of them have very specific purposes e.g. .pizza.

You’re generally better off sticking with the more common TLDs when possible.

premium domains are expensive
Premium domains can be expensive, but can make up for the cost with quality SEO.

Premium domains

These are domains that have already been registered and have a higher value because:

  • They are “aged” domains
  • They are extremely brandable

You will find premium domains for sale both privately and via domain registrars.

A premium domain can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,000,000 so they’re not something that should concern a new blogger.

Now, let’s look at our tips for creating a great domain name for your blog.

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1. First Impressions Last

People say you have 10 seconds to make a positive impression on a new visitor to your site.

…but it’s actually more like 3 seconds.

Because, when a person is scanning Google results they will typically click on whatever domain is ranked on page one but that also looks professional.

Put yourself in their shoes. Ask yourself which of the following domain names you’re more likely to click on when searching for car insurance:

  • BestTopInsuranceProviderUK.com
  • GiantInsurance.com

‘GiantInsurance.com’ is what most people end up clicking. The branded domain name just works better in this scenario.

So bear this in mind when shortlisting your final choices of domain name because what sounds clever to you could make you look like a total amateur in the eyes of a potential customer.

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2. Keep it Short

Shorter domain names are better for several reasons.

The first is that humans struggle to remember multiple word combinations.

That’s why Jeff Bezos chose Amazon.com as his domain name and not EveryBookOnThePlanet.com.

The second reason is that long domain names not only look unprofessional but they’d never fit on a business card. 

Research has shown that the ideal maximum length for a domain name is 12 – 15 characters.

But if possible keep your domain to 5- 7 characters because domains of this length are just far easier for humans to remember.

keep it simple on a chalk board
The “KISS” method works well for domain names. (Keep It Simple, Stupid)

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3. Keep it Simple

Your domain name should be easy to spell and easy to pronounce. It should be so easy that nobody ever needs to ask you for the correct spelling.

One of the quickest ways to end up with a domain that’s difficult to both pronounce and spell is to use double letters.

Here’s an example of that:

GuardDogsSacramento.com

Domains like the above always look like a typo even when they’re not. But it’s also extremely likely for the average person to accidentally misspell your domain name.

This mistake could send your visitors directly to one of your competitors. 

Some inexperienced marketers will choose a domain name with double letters simply because they really want the .com version.

The reality is they’d be much better off with a .co version of the same domain name but without the double letters.

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4. Don’t Go Too Niche

Niche sites are great but there’s a risk of getting too niche with your domain name.

For example, BestMpowHeadphones is targeted and will appeal to anyone who wants to buy MPOW headphones.

But what happens if you want to start reviewing Bose and Philips headphones and earbuds – won’t that confuse both your audience and the search engines?

It most probably will.

So most marketers end up having to register a new broader domain name (BestHeadphones.com), set up a new site there, redirect all their traffic, and go about rebranding their site.

Which is messy, expensive, and time-consuming.

That’s why it’s always a good idea to leave some “room” in your domain name for later expansion into sub-niches or related products. 

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5. Keywords Do Matter

We are not advising you to cram keywords into your domain name.

But it doesn’t do any harm if you can include a keyword related to your business in your domain name. It makes sense from an SEO perspective, but also from a human one.

keywords are important for domains
Keywords in your domain can definitely help with SEO rankings.

Let’s say a random person is scanning Google for a great cup of artisan coffee in their area

Their eyes will automatically halt at “ArtisanCoffeeHut” but will skip past “ColdBrewedDreams” and for no other reason than humans are pattern recognition machines.

The weird thing is that ColdBrewedDreams.com is the more brandable domain of the two but ArtisanCoffeeHut is more likely to get the click in this scenario.

So it’s important to play to basic human psychology when choosing a domain name.

Another tip is to pay attention to the language/jargon/slang your audience uses or expects to find online.

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6. Don’t Use EMDs

This follows the above point but from a slightly different angle on a similar subject – EMDs.

There was a time when using your exact keyword as your domain name would give you a significant boost in ranking.

An example of this would be Samsung50inchLCDTV.com

These were called EMDs (Exact Match Domains). But, Google started penalizing them way back in 2012. 

So, please do not stuff keywords into your domain name or expect Google to rank it.

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7. Don’t Use Dashes

Splitting up a domain name with hyphens was – and still is – a trick used by some people to:

  • Get keywords into their domain name
  • Register an otherwise unavailable TLD

So instead of registering GuardDogsSacramento.com you’d instead register Guard-Dogs-Sacramento.com.

But there are a few problems with this approach including that there are zero SEO benefits for using dashes, and it looks really, really unprofessional. 

Using dashes or hyphens in your domain name is very 2004, so it’s best to leave them there.

Black hand and a red X
Don’t use numbers, dashes, or EMDs in your domain name.

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8. Don’t Use Numbers

Never include a number in your domain name, especially if you’re using it in an attempt to phonetically replace another word.

Here’s an example of what we mean:

  • Insurance4Dogs.com
  • Flowers2You.com

This might have been a cool domain hack 15 years ago but these days it looks beyond unprofessional. 

Never add numbers to your domain name this way.

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9. Make It Brandable

Take this advice to heart if you plan on launching an online store or e-commerce site i.e. you’re selling physical products and/or drop shipping.

Brandable domains are catchy, easy to memorize, easy to pronounce, and stand out from the crowd.

A guy writing the power of branding on a clear wall
Domains are a great way to market your brand.

So if you ask somebody to name an online pizza store they’ll probably reply with “Dominos”. 

Or where the best place online auction site and they’ll most likely answer, “eBay”.

A brandable domain doesn’t even need to mean anything in some circumstances.

Google for example is a misspelling of Googol, which is a mathematical term for 10100. So Google doesn’t mean anything at all, but everyone in the world knows what Google is.

That’s the power of branding.

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10. Use Misspellings…Sometimes

Don’t deliberately register a misspelled domain name if it’s based on a popular product or service.

It might seem like a clever way to “trick” people into visiting your site but it’s entirely counterproductive unless you’re running some kind of a scam.

You also run the risk of being sued by the company that owns the trademark you’re infringing upon.

That’s why you should never impersonate or riff on the business name of another company, business, or organization.

The flipside of this is that misspellings can help you create a unique brand of your very own.

Let’s take Flickr as an example. 

This is a well-known image-sharing site that created a memorable brand name by simply dropping the letter “e” from the word “Flicker”.

That makes purposeful misspellings an option for you as long as you’re not trying to impersonate an existing brand.

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11. Trademarks

It’s always a good idea to check if another business either owns the trademark behind your domain name or has a social profile using the same business name.

Otherwise, you could be sued for trademark infringement or domain squatting.

The word Trademark on a blue screen with other icons
You can protect your domain with a Trademark. Doing this gives your brand and domain the best possible protection from knock-off artists.

You can run a trademark search via the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

And you can search for existing social profiles using KnowEm.

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12. Dotcom or Not?

The prevailing wisdom is that you should only ever settle for a .com when registering your domain name. 

So…is it the only choice?

The logic behind the above advice is that Internet users have been conditioned to type .com at the end of a domain name by default.

But you also need to ask how many people are manually typing in your domain name instead of relying on search results or bookmarks.

The reality is that people will use Google, or another search engine, to find your website and they’ll then bookmark it.

So while the venerable .com is the gold standard in domain names Google has no preference on the matter. 

That’s why you’ll find .io, .co, .org and .biz sites ranking on page one of the SERPs.

With all of that said, a .com should be your first choice for a domain name whenever possible for the sake of simplicity.

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13. Do Not Rush The Process

Your domain name will be with you, hopefully, for years to come.

So take your time when choosing one.

Yes, you can always redirect to a new domain later if you have to, but it’s a messy process that’s best avoided.

slow down on a street
Take your time throughout the process. It’s supposed to fun!

That’s why it’s worth investing a few days in finding a domain name you both like and is also a great fit for your business.

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14. Should You Buy All Available TLDs?

If you’re planning on investing a lot of money in your business it can make sense to register the .net and  .org versions of your domain name.

The cost involved is minimal and it protects you against domain squatting and impersonators.

With that said, there’s no need to go out and register 20 or 30 domains to cover all the more popular domain extensions.

Unless you’re Google or Microsoft, that is.

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15. How To Hack Domain Ideation

Now let’s take a look at a process you can use to come with great ideas for domain names in any niche or market,

Seed words

You start the domain name brainstorming process by making a note of a few keywords related to your niche, which in this example is Bluetooth headphones.

For this niche our seed keywords would be:

  • Bluetooth
  • Headphones
  • Wireless
  • Pairing
  • Earbuds
  • Over-ear
  • On-ear

You don’t need to create an exhaustive list of all possible seed words related to Bluetooth headphones – you can start with just a handful like in the above example.

Brainstorming

Some of my favorite domain names have come from scribbling ideas on a notepad and paper.

Tools are useful but they can kill the creative process- humans are natural problem solvers. It’s what we do.

Here’s how you apply that inherent skill to come up with ideas for a domain name for a site about Bluetooth headphones:

  • Bluetooth headphones generate sound
  • You wear Bluetooth headphones on your head
  • Bluetooth headphones must be paired to work
  • You can listen to music wirelessly
  • Bluetooth headphones are cool

Okay, so we have some basic concepts there that we’re going to mix and match a little to come up with potential domain names such as:

  • Bluetoothbuds
  • Wirelessmusic
  • PairedWear
  • Bluetoothtunes
  • Bluetoothsounds
  • PairedMusic
  • CoolBuds
  • Headphonegear

Now let’s run these through the Namecheap bulk domain search with the following tweaks:

  • Pluralize nouns
  • Prefixes: Get, The
  • Suffix: -ation, -fy, -ing, -itis

Here’s the list of available domain names generated by a 15-minute brainstorming session:

  • Pairedwear.com
  • Getbluetoothbuds.com
  • Thebluetoothsounds.com
  • Pairedmusic.com
  • Getwirelessmusic.com

If you play around with the above process you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how many cool, unique and brandable domain names you can come up with.

The more you practice this process the better you’ll get uncovering domain names that no tool would ever think of.

Tools

If you’re struggling to come up with the manual process there are lots of free domain name generators that you can experiment with.

All that’s required from you is to type in one or two words related to your niche and these tools will generate a list of available domain names.

Shopify has an excellent tool for creating business names – we’d suggest starting there:

Shopify name tool
Shopify Name Generator

But there are tons of other free tools to help you find available domain names:

Is one domain name generator better than others?

Honestly, it comes down to which one you find easiest to use.

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16. Check Your Domain’s History

There’s a distinct possibility that your domain might have been registered at some stage in the past decade or two.

One way to check this is by using the WayBackMachine. This free tool provides you with a visual representation of when your domain has been used in the past:

wayback machine
WayBackMachine showing previous registrations.

Or if it’s never been registered once since 1998:

wayback machine
WayBackMachine showing no previous registrations.

It’s also worth running a Whois check on your domain name to answer questions like:

  • Has it been registered and transferred several times in the past?
  • Has it experienced several domain drops?
Whois Tool
Whois Tool

If either of the above is true then you should avoid the domain.

Ideally, you should only choose a domain that has either never been used before or you can confirm that has never been used for a website that was penalized by Google.

Pro Tip

Register for a free account with Whois.sc – it helps you bypass their clunky Captcha system.

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17. Have Fun!

Do take the time to create your domain name the proper way. But, while your at it, have fun!

This is one of the best parts of starting an online business. 

You get to carve out a spot of the internet that yours, and yours alone. 

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Wrapping things up

And that brings us to the end of our guide on creating a domain name for your online business.

You’re probably eager to rush out and register your new domain today.

But we would advise that you take your time.

Brainstorm some ideas, and see what ideas the different tools listed above come up with.

Then put your domain to one side and forget about it.

And then a few days later look at it with fresh eyes – does it still pop and make you want to register it?

Awesome.

If not, then it’s back to the drawing board.

This isn’t a race, so take your time and pick a domain name you’ll be proud of.

Which domain name did you come up with for your new online business? Please share it in the comments below!

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About Matt Collins

With a rapidly growing team of readers, my mission is to teach hungry professionals how to maximize their net worth with scalable side hustles and responsible financial management practices.

My reputation is of the utmost importance to me, which is why I only provide completely honest, 100% true, unbiased recommendations for systems and software I know and trust.

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